Verizon Treo 700w Initial Thoughts

I picked up my Treo 700w at the local Verizon Wireless store on Friday, and have had a few days to get adjusted to it, so I thought I would pin down some initial reactions.

I’m not a particularly huge fan of the Treo 700w at this point. There are two things about my Motorola E815 that had me spoiled. Number one was the amazing signal strength – I can think of maybe two times in almost two years where I was unable to get a signal. I’ve spent a few days out “in the sticks” where my family is and while the service there is weak, it was mostly non-existant for the Treo. This is a huge sticking point for me – what good is a phone if I can’t get a signal to make a call?

Item number two is just as bad – battery life. While this likely has something to do with number one (cell phones use more battery when trying to stay locked on to weaker signals), I’m not totally convinced that it’s going to improve a lot here in Shelby from what I’ve seen today.

I also have a few other minor annoyances. The screen is pretty dim, and therefore fairly difficult to read in either direct or indirect sunlight (in the car for example) and the screen’s actual resolution just seems not quite right to me. I’ve had to remove the Treo’s battery twice because it wouldn’t power on, at all, when I know good and well it had at least half of it’s battery life left. I’m not sure if this is Microsoft’s fault for a shoddy OS platform, Palm’s fault for their customization of the OS, or Verizon’s fault for their software. Finally, (and this I remember despising from a few years ago when I had a Compaq iPaq), I hate the fact that applications don’t end when you close them. I understand that it saves time from loading them again the next time you start, but it takes away from available memory, and probably aides in the quickly evaporating battery life.

Despite those two major points and the other minor ones, I don’t really hate the Treo. It’s a lot more comfortable to talk on than I expected, given the device’s odd shape. It’s also not nearly as awkward in my pocket as I thought it would be. Just merely being able to access my email via IMAP on it has been a huge convenience over the past couple days (more on that in a later post). I’m adjusting to thumb-typing on a QWERTY keyboard fairly easily and in no way do I miss T9 or whatever Motorola’s version was called. One of my favorite conveniences so far is that I have the Asterisk server at work email voicemails to me and I can play them directly on the Treo without having to dial in to the system at work.

So, there is a quick review for you. I’m really on the fence right now about returning it and getting the Q, as I’ve heard the screen resolution and battery life are much better, and in my experience with Motorola, the signal strength would also be much improved. That being said, I already ordered a bunch of accessories (car charger, sideways leather case, additional AC charger) and I think those will help offset the battery life problem for me. I think I have 14 days with Verizon’s Worry-Free guarantee to see what I think, so I’ll probably give it a few more days now that I’m going to be around town and see how it goes.

If anyone has any suggestions of applications I need to install, I’m all ears. Particularly if you know of a better IMAP mail client than the one built in to WM5.